New Clues on How Cancer Spreads
Cells Within a Tumor May Pave the Way for Cancer's Spread
WebMD News Archive
Nov. 27, 2006 -- New clues about how tumors prepare for cancer's deadly
spread may open up new avenues for cancer prevention and treatment.
A Japanese study suggests that early in lung cancer's
progression, cells within a tumor may pave the way for cancer's invasion by
triggering processes that allow for the spread of disease. By interrupting
these signals, researchers were able to block the development of cancer's
spread to lungs in mice.
Cancer advances through a process of metastasis in which the cancer spreads
from the initial site to other areas of the body, making it more deadly and
difficult to treat. By learning more about the processes that trigger this
spread, researchers say they may be able to develop new cancer treatment
Tumors Prepare for Invasion
In the study, researcher Sachie Hiratsuka of Tokyo Women's Medical
University School of Medicine and colleagues studied mice bred to develop
They found certain chemicals were produced in the lung by factors secreted
by the primary tumor. These chemicals then prompted the migration of both
inflammatory and tumor cells to the lung.
Researchers found an amplifying circuit was created between the primary
tumor and the targeted area to facilitate the tumor's invasion. But
interrupting this circuit of signals effectively stopped the invasion or spread
of cancer to the lungs in mice.
If further studies confirm these results, published in Nature Cell
Biology, researchers say targeting this preparatory period in tumors may
open up a new avenue to prevent the spread of cancer.